Sunday, May 29, 2016

50km on the Baden Powell

Wow was it raining on Saturday! Our plan was to start at 10 am in Deep Cove and travel to Lynn Canyon return to Deep Cove. We poured another cup of coffee and tried to talk each other out of it and also into it as the weather was so nasty.  On the 20th floor at the condo the rain was so thick it looked like snow. We did eventually get out there after some hesitation just an hour later than planned.  It was just Neil and I so no worries. I wore my "Norway" purchased jacket, hat and gloves. What a test for our rain gear! I kept it all on the entire 25km journey which is so unusual for me to not remove at least my hat or gloves.  Amazing - the Norway jacket was not wet on the inside! My under layers were wet from sweat but the jacket stopped the rain! 
We saw a few people early on in Deep Cove wearing rain ponchos but did not pass anyone else until we came upon a fellow ultra runner - Baldwin! He is training for the Knee Knacker (Neil too!) it was great to catch up briefly but we had to keep moving after a few minutes as we all started to get cold quite quickly. 
The trails were running with rain! I was pleased to turn around at Lynn Canyon as I felt like we had been out there long enough in such conditions. Now 
that is 25km on the Baden Powell all going towards completing 100kms by the 
V100 deadline. 
Sunday morning we woke to glorious sunshine! Thankfully our gear had dried well over night and we set out again starting at Cleveland Dam just below Grouse Mountain to travel to Lynn Canyon from the other direction return to Cleveland. It is a bit crazy traffic wise with road construction in the Grouse area. Now that's another 25km today on rough terrain. That's 50km in the bank for Vancouver 100. We have another 50km to go on the very snowy section over the next few weekends. Good times on the Baden Powell - today I found myself reminiscing about all the events and trail companions that have tackled this trail over the years. We have been so fortunate to enjoy the trails over the years! Until next time...happy trails! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Trip to Lethbridge, Alberta

Work brings Neil to Lethbridge, Alberta a few times a year. This trip I decided to tag along. Lethbridge is located in southern Alberta, only one hour north of the Alberta/Montana (USA) border and a one hour drive to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We flew to Calgary, rented a car and drove 2.5 hours south to Lethbridge. I've been here a few times before but this trip we hit a nice weather window of not too hot or too cold, no bugs, no wasps, no snakes (Neil got hit by a bull snake once in an ultra event here). I enjoyed my days of exploring. The first day I did a few loops of Henderson Lake a man-made lake in the center of town. 
Henderson Lake. It has a nice pathway all the way around it. 
In the evening Neil joined me to refresh my memory of the Lost Souls Ultra route. It starts and finishes near this rail bridge which is the highest and longest of its type in the world. The next day I enjoyed an outing on a section of the course. 
The trail takes you under the bridge. Glad a train was not on it when I crossed under it! 
The trail is a dirt path through desert like conditions. Nice to see where you are heading! 
The wild flowers were blooming. The butterfly landed just when I took the photo! 
I spotted a few cactuses along the way. 
The trail has lots of ups and downs that are short and steep. These can be slippery in wet/muddy conditions. 
I came upon a few of these ant hills on the side of the trail. They freaked me out! They were active with ants running in and out. I was itchy for the rest of the day! 
The trail also has some switch backs, bridges and stairs. 
Neil joined me for a nice evening stroll by the "Old Man River". He was showing me some of the Lost Souls route. It really gets very isolated quite quickly. 
Nice view of the river and the hills. Overall a great trip to southern Alberta, I'll have to tag along again on another trip! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Vicar Lakes Trail

The alarm went at 5am (it's been awhile since I was up that early!) Team Dodgy, with our ad hoc member Chris met at the Lynn Headwaters park gate to start our journey for the day. We were heading to the Vicar Lakes Trail. 
We started the journey with a 12 km bike ride to the start of the trail. The air was fresh and we were the only folk out there this early on the Seymour Valley Trailway.  Once at the very hidden trail head, we stashed our bikes in the bush. 
Shortly after the start of the trail we came upon these very large first growth cedar trees that are named "The General and The General's Wife." I would guess that these original giants are at least 700 yrs old. That's a longtime to be married! We were all in awe and especially Chris who proclaimed these are the largest trees he has ever seen! Us too - but we have been here previously! But still in awe of these giants in the woods. 
The trail is steep: very steep and so knarley there is always something to grab onto, be it a rope or a tree root. My heart rate was up there. I haven't climbed this steep on a trail so full of obstacles and ascent since last August. We climbed to 1,030 meters (3,471feet) With an elevation gain of 2,629 feet  in 3.5km's. 
We stopped for a bite to eat at Vicar Lakes where we were greeted with snow and very boggy ponds both around and under the snow. It was at this point we decided to turn back down. It is still very early in the year to be among the peaks of Vancouver for us Baggers. Despite the unseasonably warm May temperatures this year, the huge snowpack of the past winter is slow to move. I would guess it will be another month before the alpine is largely snow free. 
The clouds were closing in and we were feeling cold from the mist with our feet being soaking wet. 
The route down can be a bit trickier with it being hard to see your foot placement. Ropes are in place in strategic points which really help. It really is like a climbing gym in the woods - the real thing! 
Once down off the trail we retrieved our bikes and decided to take the Seymour Mainline lower road out which is a bit rougher and perhaps with a few more hills (at least it felt like it on the 12km return trip!). There was lots of evidence of Bears on this route!  Here we are at the Spur 4 bridge where us "Once Upon a Time" fans recognize the spot many scenes from the show were filmed. 
After the final 12km bike ride out we were done! It was an 8 hour day, 2 hours of biking and 6 hours on the trail return. 
This trail is like no other - amazingly challenging terrain. Great outing team Dodgy! Looking forward to the next journey. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Cheakamus Lake "Run"

Friday I convinced Neil to start his weekend early and we managed a 10km run on the Baden Powell Trail and Old Buck. I love being on the trails during the week, beats a day in an office! We saw very few people. 
Saturday we did a trail run to Cheakamus Lake which was 16km return. The trail is so lovely and runnable. We went to the end of the trail at Singing Creek campground. The trail literally stops with thick bush remaining in front of you. 
Neil was trying out new trail shoes, New Balance. 
This post marks an important junction in the trail. Straight ahead to Cheakamus Lake, turn right to Garabaldi Lake. Once the snow has receded high in the mountains we plan to do a team dodgy outing to Garibaldi Lake and then down to the Garibadi Lake trailhead by the highway. A 24 km outing in all through some spectacular BC scenery and a "must do" for any outdoor enthusiast. 
There are a few sandy beaches along the  trail. The lake is a beautiful turquoise color and very cold! The lake is at 915 meters surrounded by mountains that tower to 1,600 meters above its thickly forested shoreline. 
This is the Singing Creek campground where the trail ends. Nice place to spend some time! 
This week I caught a view of the British Airways Airbus A380 super jumbo jet that is now flying daily from London to Vancouver for the summer season. It looks big!! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Old Buck and a Train Wreck


Saturday Neil, Fergus (dog) and I went back to the Old Buck trail that we ran last weekend with Team Dodgy. We did 8km in the area of climbing straight up and then down. The heat has turned on and it was 23 C. 
Here's Neil and Fergus almost back at the car. 
Sunday we enjoyed discovering a new trail in Whistler called Train Wreck. It was amazing to see these rail cars that were part of a train wreck that happened in the area in 1956. 
They have "approved" it as a local graffiti zone. It was quite spooky to come upon the 5 rail cars just below the rail tracks. 
The hike in to the train wreck followed the Cheakamus River. 
Fast moving waters were happening around a large log jam - it was a really warm day for May 1st at 25 C. 
Happy May!! We are pleased you are here. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Vancouver Weekend

Team Dodgy meets again! Craig was in town so Neil, Dave, Craig and I met at the base of the Old Buck Trail in North Vancouver. The guys had big goals for the day that I wasn't sure I was ready for so we went our separate ways on the trail. We all had a great day out there, I did 2.5 hours of hills. Plenty of up and down with some great running sections. 
Neil, Dave and Craig went higher up the mountain and played in the snow for a bit. 
Today Fergus (dog) and I did 11km on the Vancouver seawall. Neil joined me later in the afternoon for a bike ride of the same route but in the opposite direction. Nice to go around twice with different ways to propel yourself. Looks like my running partner might need a day of rest tomorrow. I'll be out there! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Exploring the Trails Near Whistler

Saturday Neil and I drove 24 km south of Whistler to the Garibaldi Lake trail head in  Garabaldi Provincial Park. No dogs are allowed in the park so Fergus had a quiet day indoors. The first 6km of the trail is a gradual uphill climb through dense forest of Douglas Fir trees. We ran into snow at approximately 2km up the trail. Thankfully we had our Kathoolas in the pack and once we had them on our feet it made a big difference to provide us with some grip on the slippery snow. I had 1 pole for additional grip. 
The weather was getting colder the higher we climbed. Once we reached Taylor Meadows we stopped for lunch and decided to turn around. 
We had guests for lunch - the Whisky Jacks! 
The birds take the food right out of your hand. We were wise to turn around and head back as it started to rain (freezing rain) which made the conditions a bit slick coming down. The Kathoolas sure make a big difference. 12 km return. 
Sunday we woke to glorious sunshine and warm temperatures. We ventured out on the Cheakamus Lake trail which is just 4km south of Whistler. There were trees down on the access road so we added  a few additional km's to the journey.  The lake was beautiful. I think this will be a regular summer route for us. 13 km total for the day. 
The route had many trees down. I wouldn't have wanted to be near this tree when it hit the ground! 
We found a route over the tree. While on the trail to Cheakamus Lake we came upon the trail junction to Garabaldi Lake (16km one way) which we will tackle once the snow is gone. 

The weather here in the Vancouver area is unseasonally hot! 31 degrees C today! It's only mid April. That's really crazy. It hasn't been this hot in April since 1962. There are some early forest fires that have started in both BC and Alberta. Yikes!